Poetic Medicine

A Way to Nourish & Connect

"Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to nuclear war,
none is so great as the deadening of our response."

~ Joanna Macy
PH.D Author & Teacher, Scholar of Buddhism, Systems Thinking, and Deep Ecology


Poetic Medicine expands awareness and connection, 
that which evokes feeling and is enlivening. 


At this challenging time on Earth, when our social, democratic, and ecological systems are in such peril, we are reaching out and asking that you join us in bringing forward the healing power of poetry. Let's encourage conscious engagement with the current world issues that urgently require our response.  

In each place we go, we see the life-affirming act of writing, reading, and speaking poetry transform lives and shape a new kind of community. This community is based on nurturing, deep listening, intuitive perception, and caring - the kind of authentic connection we need most. There is a spirit of discovery, a sense of adventure in this "poetic medicine" experience; this is informed by a willingness to bear witness and offer mutual support. There is an appreciation of differences and increased awareness of common ground and connection.  

You may have experienced this and those connections may very well include you!

Your engagement, actively practical, spiritual and financial, can and will uplift people's relationship to themselves, to each other,
to the living earth, and to the process of discovery in this Great Mystery.

Listed below are specific ways for you to get involved in this mission of the Institute for Poetic Medicine.
Please consider how you can support this work. Let there be no limit to what is possible. 

Please consider supporting IPM and our Poetry Partners by contributing funds, in-kind donations, or resources (i.e. one-time or monthly donations, endowments, matching funds, airline mileage, etc.). Please reach out to us to discuss the details and possibilities.

If you're interested in donating your time and skills (i.e.grant-writing, administrative, organizational) please tell us more by filling out our volunteer form.

We fund Poetry Partner Programs, including PATFW, that bring poetic medicine to people often considered at the margins. If you have a vision for a poetry program addressing the underserved in your community, consider learning more and apply for a Poetry Partner Grant or help us raise funds and awareness to support these vital programs.

John Fox travels the United States and internationally to support people interested in spreading and practicing the benefits of feeding our minds with the wonder of poetry. This work can bring healing to people and bring clarity to leaders in all types of help organizations. If you are affiliated with a professional organization such as the National Association of Social Workers, Pastoral Counselors, etc. We can work with you to bring John's work to them or prepare you to become an Ambassador to represent IPM, creating opportunities for fund-raising, workshops, presentations to organizations you are affiliated with. Please reach out to us to discuss the details and possibilities.

We are looking for passionate and committed people to join The Institute's Board of Directors and Committees.

We are open to hearing about the ways that you can uniquely contribute and participate as part of our core leadership team. Please tell us about your interests, skills, and experience by submitting an application.

Questions? Please reach out.

We would love for you to connect with our community on Facebook where we share inspiration, stories, poems, and all things poetry-as-healer.


IPM logo
Poetry of Nature Letters
Facilitated by NanLeah, Geoff Oelsner Monthly Letters delivered through November
This Poetic Medicine journey of monthly letters (with access to past issues) is for all kinds of Nature Lovers: for those wishing to create or deepen their Nature practice and poetry writing; for those that are concerned about Earth’s chang- ing climate, and their place in it; for those who have the felt sense that things can be different; and for those who are ready to turn their hearts and minds to a new story.
Through stories, poems, writing prompts, and reflections on the theme of choice, we’ll weave a tangible, living record of our journey together.
Morning Branches
by Geoff Oelsner
If there’s an award for Most Eclectic Local Album of the Year and Possibly Even the Decade, it will surely go to Geoff Oelsner for his new release, “Morning Branches.”
There is the unadorned informality of Geoff Oelsner, LCSW’s Dream and the theatrical pandemonium of Mad Tom’s Song. And there are some genuine folk songs delivered in Geoff ’s engaging resonant baritone and liberally sprinkled with tasty acoustic instruments and harmony. Two of these songs, My Shady and Borderguards, I would put right up there with the best of Joan Baez or Peter, Paul & Mary.
More than those of most singer-songwriters, Geoff Oelsner’s lyrics read as poetry on the printed page…Oelsner, who once told me that he considers himself “a happy hand-puppet of the artistic process,” often gets song ideas, and even entire songs, from his dreams… Geoff Oelsner is especially attuned to this phenomenon and tries to honor it and be faithful to it when it occurs.
Emily Kaitz, Fayetteville Free Weekly
Ordinary Mystery
by Geoff Oelsner
Geoff Oelsner doesn’t spend too much time thinking about writing songs. Inspiration, he says, just hits him. He calls them “givens,” and he knows that a gift like that is to be used.
On the recording (Ordinary Mystery), he was backed by Kelly Mulhollan, Robin Rues, Andrew Sieff, and also his family, including his wife and two grown children who now make their careers as musicians.
Oelsner chatted with the us recently about the gifts of songs, the importance of recording with his family and his love of Native American cultures. Four songs on the album are dedicated to the country’s different native peoples, and proceeds from the recording will be donated to Native American charities.
Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making
by John Fox
Transcending the traditional academic approach to poetry writing, Finding What You Didn’t Lose deals with craft but, more importantly, guides readers to explore their deepest feelings and express their own unique insights through the incomparable language of poetry.
Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
by John Fox
Poetic Medicine is designed for readers wanting to tap their creative energy in order to make a difference in the world, including educators, therapists, parents and their children, writers, couples, and the infirm. As John Fox demonstrates, we all possess the ability to write. This gift enables us to access unlimited spiritual resources that restore our genuine voices and meaning in our lives, while healing and creatively satisfying us.
We Are the Future: Poems with a Voice for Peace
Edited by Merna Ann Hecht
This unique anthology brings readers into the personal, lived experiences of young people whose lives are challenged by leaving a homeland behind and negotiating relocation. At a time of uncertainty with a global pandemic and the very real threat to our planet from climate change, We Are the Future reminds us to stand strong with refugee and immigrant youth in their hopes, dreams and determination for a more humane, just, and peaceful world.
Geography of Loss
by Judith Prest
Geography of Loss explores grief and loss, whether through death or other experiences. It is a collection of poems detailing family history, lessons from loss and the resilience that come from surviving loss.
Write a Poem, Save Your Life
by Meredith Heller
With writing prompts, tools, encouragement, and moving student examples, Meredith Heller gently guides us in the art of using poetry to figure out who we are and what matters to us and to heal the deeper issues many of us face, such as depression, addiction, health and body image issues, low self-esteem, trauma, gender and sexual identity issues, and home and family problems. Along the way, we learn that writing poems helps us believe in ourselves, make positive life choices, and find direction, purpose, and meaning.